On February 20th, the University of Virginia GlobeMed chapter participated in raising awareness for the World Day of Social Justice. In previous years, we implemented a written-word campaign. We asked chapter members what was something they viewed as a basic human right-- happiness, health, access to resources, safety, a home, the list went on. We posted these laconic yet powerful posts around our campus. Responses ranged from a turned head while walking to class to insightful conversations on global health and political awareness.
This year we decided to link the idea of global social justice to somewhere that we felt a close personal connection to-- our sister nonprofit, the Build Your Future Today Center (BFT). Since one of the organization's main goals is to create sustainable health efforts through bettering nutrition for mothers and children, we decided to create awareness on the amount of food our third-world counterparts eat from day to day.
About a quarter cup of rice. This is how much an average Cambodian might eat each day. This is also how much rice GlobeMed put into small bags and handed out to fellow students during WDSJ. The response was overwhelming. Many students were shocked that the portion they had in their hands was so small. Those who had the time to further converse with GlobeMed members learned about what BFT does to directly tackle this issue, and how they could help. It was a powerful and rewarding experience for all those who participated.
"The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing. ... We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalised are heard."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message for the 2014 World Day of Social Justice
The above words guided GlobeMed and University of Virginia community members on the WDSJ, and helped us all remember what exactly we're working towards. Because it's never really about fixing the world in a single day, constantly attempting to change the ways of all those around you, or even regularly providing direct relief to everyone in need. What we all can do is raise awareness. For awareness begets change, change begets equality, and equality begets happiness. This is what we're working towards.